Summer 2004. Ottmar Hitzfeld completed his first two contracts as Bayern coach. The mountain of titles and awards he has collected in Munich, but also in Dortmund, in GC or Aarau, is huge. Winner of the European Champions League twice! The man belongs to the Crème de la Crème in the European Football Circus. However, he had reached a personal low that summer. Especially physically and mentally.
The signals his body sent out after years of intense intense pressure were violent. In the book “At the Limit – How Sports Stars Cope in Crisis”, he talks in detail and candidly about his darkest hours. Those 17 years ago.
“Suddenly I had claustrophobia in the car. I rolled out the window, but I still got upset,” he says in one of them. SWR . contribution about the mentioned book. Lörracher, who experienced homesickness early in his career, reported back pain and sleep disturbances. As a coach, he wasn’t really able to get away.
“i was depressed”
“I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy anymore. It was the worst,” says Hitzfeld. There was no longer a glass of warm wine with his wife Beatrix, for whom her husband’s state of mind was such a heavy burden. “I felt depressed during this time,” the 72-year-old said.
Due to his precarious condition at the time, he was also unable to accept the attractive offer to become a national coach. In Engelberg OW, where the family owns a second home, Hitzfeld is trying to make his way back to life: “I often lay in bed and would have liked the covers over my head. I thought I couldn’t get up. I was so desperate.” Only with antidepressants does it gradually become calmer. And thanks to the social isolation, there is a lot of calm and one-on-one discussions with a psychiatrist.
Recovering from exhaustion, two years later, he was back as coach for Bayern Munich before being named national coach and leading Switzerland to two world championships.
At the age of 65, the most successful German coach to date ended his career. Looking back, he said, “That was one of the best decisions I’ve made.” (mpe)
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